Parent: - I know what life is like. If you have any sense take my advice.
Young person: - the world has changed since you were young. You don’t understand our problem today. Besides we ought to be free to do what we like.
What are your views on this argument?
As an old saying goes all that is old is not necessarily good and all that is new is also not necessarily bad; the wise person weighs between these two maxims before he arrives any conclusion. This is true of the way of life led from generation to generation. Take for instance writing materials. From the days of pens dipped in ink, we have traversed a long way and now living in a generation using ball point pens. An old man used to the olden pens need not feel sorry that those days are gone; nor should the young ones gloat over him. What is written is more important than the material used. People who used old style of pens and crude sheets like papyrus or the vellum were also great in history.
What has been said of the pen is also true of many other things in life, whether it be dress, food, housing, lighting and entertainment. In the matter of dress, the materials have changed and the way of stitching it has changed. But the fact that clothes are used for covering the body remains unchanged. What is elegant and comely in one generation need not be so in the next. From mini to max: and back, there is a swing. Somebody sets the fashion and the media makes it appear popular so the younger generation readily accepts it whereas the old generation looks upon it with suspicion and disapproval. This is so with many things in life. Even with behavior and morals this is so.
What is considered the norm these days is not approved by the older generation. Copy books maxims do not go well with the younger generation. Take for instance smoking. In some societies it is taken for granted trough a wise parent may not like his son smoking.
One must admit that the question of nature versus nurture has been superseded by the environment which plays a crucial role today. In fact, environment factors have always influenced man’s life and it can be rightly said that the environment has always been a factor in the march of civilization; only the panorama changes very fast because of swift communication and the induction of technology in every aspect of life. Whether many of these things are necessary is a matter of opinion. The spoken voice gave birth to the recorded voice, so from the gramophone disc we have now come to the cassettes. The camera gave birth to the cinema which in turn has become almost obsolete with the coming of the television. One must look at the use rather than the instrument. Our forefathers were using open fires for cooking but now it is the electric ovens or gas. A modern kitchen is a very nice place compared to the one in the good old days.
If it is a question of morality, then some serious thinking must go into it. Morality as conceived by man has been built into the society concerned. The diction “Thou shalt not steal” is true and good today as it was in ancient days. In behavior the older ones may be a model. In courtesy, in table manners, in good neighborliness and many other things, the elder one must not only be a role model but also initiator for practical reasons.
Beliefs are easily shaken nowadays. The society is not a closed one as it was. So youngsters come across different faiths and beliefs and rightly or wrongly take to one of them. Take for instance, the hippie cult. It has caught the imagination of many youths to the rude shock of elderly people. It is very difficult to change the younger generation. The ideas of fun and pleasure are changing. Boys and girls moving freely may be a shock to the older generation. A wise parent cannot put a brake suddenly but can slowly bring into the mind of the young ones the dangers of free love.
Besides the parent, the society itself has a part to play in this aspect. The church, the newspaper and magazines, the TV and other media can play a vital role in bringing about a healthy society. Bringing up the younger generation is like walking a tight rope. The parents’ role is really a difficult one. A child cannot be brought up completely insulated from outside influences. This generation gap will continue and will be brought into sharp focus because of the fast moving world we live in nowadays.
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